Harpal Singh Bedi / Bhubaneswar
Scoring once in each half, England ousted New Zealand 2-0 in the first cross over match to become the fifth team to make it to the quarter finals of the 14th Hockey World Cup at Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Argentina, Australia, India and Germany , having topped their respective pools have already made it to the quarters.
Will Calnan gave England the lead in the 25th minute and Luke Taylor doubled it in the 44th minute. England will face Olympic champion Argentina in the first quarter final of the tournament on 12th December.
England dominated the match most of the time but missed chances galore to make it look a close affair which it was not.
The match opened on a tentative note with both teams aware that it could be the last match for one of them in the tournament. The Kiwis were burdened by the fact that they had not beaten the English team in their three previous encounters in this tournament.
In their 9 appearances in the World cup, Kiwis have finished 7th four times, that has been their best showing so far while England in 12 showings in the cup have finished runners up once and fourth twice.
The teams took some time to settle down and New Zealand made their first move in the third minute through Kane Russell who ran from the centre but his cross went a abegging as there was no Kiwi striker in the circle to intercept it .
As expected England made their incisive counter move in the 5th minute through Liam Ansell which earned them their first penalty corner. Mark Gleghorne’ s drag flick was palmed away by goal keeper Richard Joyce .
England midfielders retained the possession of the ball and tried to keep their flanks alive by feeding the wingers but the Black Sticks having beefed up their defence foiled the attacks.
Though the Kiwis were able to frustrate their rivals by effectively blocking them outside their circle but were not able to make any incisive counter moves to put pressure on the English defence.
New Zealand tried to shed their defensive tactics and opened up the game but Stephen Jenness run from the middle was aborted by Liam Sanford who regained the ball for England’ strikers.
The England forwards then resumed their attacks on the Kiwis citadel but were not able to cut through the crowded defence . Skipper Phil Roper tried to make a solo effort but his attempt was disrupted by Kiwi defender Nic Woods
It took 25 minutes England to get their first breakthrough, Phil Roper dogged past three defenders on the right and goalkeeper Richard Joyce rushed towards him. Roper moved to the baseline and relayed the ball to unmarked Will Calnan who made no mistake in deflecting the ball home (1-0).
England did not relax their pressure in the second session and their tiki-taka hockey stretched the Black Sticks’ defence to its limits. England took control of the midfield and launched forays from left flank. However, despite having three attackers inside the area. they were not able to increase the lead.
After several misses and near misses England breached the Kiwis citadel once again in the 44th minute when following the fourth penalty goalkeeper Richard Joyce blocked David Condon’s shot but Luke Taylor scored off a rebound (2-0) to seal the match and last eight berth for his side.
Kiwis for the fourth failed to break the English Jinx in the world cup